Seven Spices in Solomon's Description of a Woman

Updated on July 26, 2017
MsDora profile image

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent over 20 years empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.

Long before Robert Southey (1774-1843) proposed that "little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice,” the Song of Songs (written about 900 BC) also known as Song of Solomon, listed a variety of spices in its description of an adult woman.

On the wedding night, the groom in The Song (4: 13, 14) describes his bride as a private garden of choice fruits with spices.

"Henna and nard . . . and saffron, calamus and cinnamon . . . with myrrh and aloes."

What do these seven exotic spices symbolize? Which of their qualities is represented in a good woman?

(1) Henna

Fragrant and Protective

Henna.  Photo by Atamari
Henna. Photo by Atamari | Source

The henna plant is native to parts of Africa, Asia and Australasia. It is most popular for the dye preparation derived from it.

For leather and cloth, the henna acts as a preservative and an anti-fungal. It is listed in Syrian and Egyptian BC texts as a medicinal herb. It repels insects and mildew, and the flower is used to make perfume. It is grown in clusters as a fragrant thorny hedge around the garden.

  • The henna quality in the woman is her protection and preservation of her beauty and purity. She wants to maintain these virtues at full strength.

(2) Nard

Aromatic and Warm

Photo by Urban
Photo by Urban | Source

Nard is the expensive, rich fragrant perfume that Mary Magdalene used in her act of worship and gratitude, to anoint the feet of Jesus. The oil was obtained as a luxury in ancient Egypt and was offered on the altar of incense in the Hebrew Temple. It is still used today as healing oil, a diuretic, and a relief for pain and deep seated grief. It is derived from a plant which grows in the Himalayas of China and in regions of India and Nepal.

  • The nard quality in the woman is her affirming, soothing, nurturing charm. There is no caustic, critical element in her interactions. She dispenses love and compassion.

(3) Saffron

Costly and Colorful

Saffron.  Photo by Velela
Saffron. Photo by Velela | Source

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice by weight. It is handpicked and placed over a fire for drying and that it takes 75,000 flowers to produce one pound of saffron (from the golden twig).

The plant is native to Southeast Asia and was first cultivated in Greece. Cooks use it for seasoning and for imparting a rich golden-yellow to their dishes. Saffron is also accredited with medicinal uses.

  • The saffron symbolizes the high quality of the spiritual and social qualities in a good woman. She is the best pick of the crop.

(4) Calamus

Graceful Under Pressure

The No-Problem Calamus

Calamus.  Photo by J.F. Gaffard
Calamus. Photo by J.F. Gaffard | Source

The calamus plant is indigenous to India, but can be found in several parts of the world including Europe, China, Australia, southern Canada and northern United States. Although it is bitter, some people learn to chew it and acquire a taste for it. It is used as medicine for a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders. Both roots and leaves have strong antioxidant, antimicrobial and insecticidal properties.

Calamus also produces an essential oil highly valued in the perfume industry. According to herbalist Jim McDonald, the leaves are “incredibly nice to simply bruise and smell, and they’ve been long used strewn across floors to release their enlightening scent as they’re walked upon.

  • Calamus is a symbol of the woman’s ability to thrive, produce and excel under pressure. Her display of grace in the midst of hostile situations wins admiration and respect.

(5) Cinnamon

Precious and Flavorful

Cinnamon.  Photo by Dominic Sherony
Cinnamon. Photo by Dominic Sherony | Source

Cinnamon was used in ancient Egypt as a beverage flavoring, as medicine, and as embalming agent. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold.

Cinnamon trees are native to Southeast Asia. The spice obtained from the inner bark of trees flavors both sweet and savoury foods. In 2004, Dr. P. Zoladz presented his findings that chewing cinnamon flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants' cognitive processing.

  • The cinnamon symbolizes the sweet influence of the woman. Her moral fragrance affects people near and far, and lingers in her absence. She is not just a physical presence; she provokes a mental and spiritual reaction.

6) Myrrh

Bitter For A Sweet Purpose

Somali man collecting incense.  Photo by Scoobycentric
Somali man collecting incense. Photo by Scoobycentric | Source

The Arabic word for myrrh means bitter; but in the Greek language, the related word is a general term for perfume. It has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine. In ancient times, it was once considered so valuable that it was equal in weight value to gold. It was among the gifts that the Wise Men from the East presented to the baby Jesus.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from a species native to Yemen, Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. A related species native to the Eastern Mediterranean is referred to as the Balm of Gilead. It is said to have "blood-moving" powers to purge stagnant blood from the uterus. It is also used in many Eastern and Western religious rites. The “holy oil” traditionally used for sacraments is scented with myrrh.

  • The bitter tasting myrrh in the woman comes from her rejection of social and moral impurities. She specializes in healthy reform. Cleansing, when necessary, is part of her generally sweet nature.

(7) Aloes

Versatile

Photo by Erin Silversmith
Photo by Erin Silversmith | Source

Author Karyn Siegal-Maier states that the aloe referred to in the Bible is agalwood or aloewood, an aromatic wood from India, but that is the extent of her information. So we will consider the aloe vera (true aloe) native to Africa but so adaptable, it can be found in the United States, in the Caribbean and many other parts of the world.

The aloe vera is used medicinally both internally and externally on humans. The gel in the leaves can be made into a smooth type of cream that can heal burns such as sunburn, and into various types of skin cleansers. People drink the aloe vera to relieve digestive discomfort and also to detoxify the body.

Desert Harvest lists several uses of the aloe vera under each letter of the alphabet. Apparently, if you can name an illness, you can find an aloe remedy or cure.

  • The aloe compares to the adaptability and versatility of the woman. She performs many varied roles, and is mostly revered for her nurturing, healing, empowering ability. In partnership with her Creator, she sustains lives.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Dora Weithers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        6 years ago from The Caribbean

        SFwrite, I am inspired that you want to read the Book again. If you are interested, you can revisit the hub and find links to subsequent articles inspired by the Song of Songs. Thanks for your visit and your comment.

      • SFwrite2 profile image

        SFwrite2 

        6 years ago

        It has been a while since I read Song of Songs-thanks to you I think it is time for another visit.

        Love your writing style!

      • dipsmi profile image

        dipsmi 

        6 years ago from Plymouth, Minnisota

        well said travel_1971 and MsDora whata lovely and inspirational hub!!!vote up

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        6 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks travel_man. So good to hear from someone so near to the land of spices. Thanks for your kind comment.

      • travel_man1971 profile image

        Ireno Alcala 

        6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

        India is the authentic land of spices here in Asia. My fellow seafarer coming from Chennai (former Madras) will always tell me how they handpick green tea leaves or mix curry powder (composed of 5 or more herbs & spices).

        Yes, yes, yes! King Solomon described women in the variety of herbs and spices, Such an inspiration!

        Thanks for sharing this neat and well-written hub. My salute!

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        6 years ago from The Caribbean

        Congratulations, Eddie, on finding and appreciating a wonderful woman. Together, you're a blessing. Thanks for your encouragement.

      • profile image

        Eddie-Perkins 

        6 years ago

        Thank you for this hub MsDora. You have done a great job of research and presentation. I praise God for the wonderful woman He has gifted to me – her price is far above rubies. You are a blessing – keep writing. Vote up and beautiful.

      • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

        Dora Weithers 

        6 years ago from The Caribbean

        That's why the aloe is such a fitting metaphor for the woman. She naturally has healing and comforting characteristics. Thanks luisj305.

      • luisj305 profile image

        luisj305 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Awesome hub I remember using aloe when i would burn myself accidentally when starting out in welding for an instant soothing cool feeling which numbed the pain so fast i didn't need anything else.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)